Google Earth 5.0 Gets Updated, Drops Beta Title
Article by George Norman
On 12 May 2009
Google Earth 5.0, the software released by the Mountain View-based search engine giant this February, has been updated. The latest Google Earth 5.0 version carries the tag v. 5.0.11733.9347 and is a bug-fix update; it does not bring any new features to the table. The interesting thing about Google Earth 5.0.11733.9347 is that it has dropped the Beta title from its name.

Google Earth’s Frank Taylor comments: “The new version of Google Earth 5 [is] now available. This new version (version 5.0.11733.9347) has dropped the "Beta" designation. As you would expect, the main goal of this release was to fix any problems from the beta and improve performance. The release notes for the new version are now available. I'm glad to see a lot of effort was made to improve the most significant new feature in GE 5: Tours.”

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It is nice to see that Google Earth 5.0 is dropping the Beta from its title, something that Gmail and several other online services provided by Google have yet to accomplish. Gmail, I took this Google provided as an example simply because its most recent outage is still fresh in mind, has been in Beta for a staggering 5 years now. This one reminds me of an article by PC World’s Mike Elgan from a while back in which he was pretty miffed at Gmail and its never-ending Beta status. According to him, Gmail is in Beta and Gmail Labs provides experimental new features (like the recent Google Search one) as a means of protecting itself from criticism.

“Despite tossing around the words "beta" and "experimental," the reality is that Google simply co-opts these words from the world of for-pay software in order to protect itself from scrutiny and criticism. The truth is that designating new features as "experimental" and announcing them only on a blog is just a charade, a marketing gimmick. It's just Google's way of having it both ways. It launches apps and features that grab market share, attract eyeballs and give it the traffic it needs to make billions of dollars per fiscal quarter. But gosh, gee, it's just little old us trying out a few ideas, so don't criticize!” said Mike Elgan.

If you would like to get Google Earth 5.0, a download location is available here.



Tags: Google, Google Eearth 5.0, Beta
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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